Cutbacks raise stink in Kensington Market

One size doesn’t fit all. That’s the message city councillor Adam Vaughan says needs to be heard by planners at Toronto Solid Waste Management.

In a November 2009 council decision, Toronto Solid Waste cut garbage pick up across the city from two days to one. Vaughan and the newly formed Kensington Market BIA hope to reverse that decision for the Kensington Market area.

“You really cannot treat these businesses like residences. Kensington Market is a mixed-use neighbourhood. It’s different. It’s unique and people are just going to have to deal with that,” Vaughan said. “I defy you to show me a neighbourhood as complex as Kensington Market.”

Vaughan said he has been hearing this concern from several residents and business owners. Vaughan said the lanes and the narrow streets were never intended to be a business area which is one of the reasons the issue of garbage collection continues to fester.

“I get earful about (the garbage) every time I walk through the market,” he said.

The Kensington Market BIA hasn’t even officially elected a board or decided on a budget, but it already has its agenda lined up, and organic waste collection tops that list.

Wanda Beaver, owner and proprietor of Wanda’s Pie In the Sky, is one of the people who spearheaded the move to get a BIA for Kensington Market. She says that several businesses need their organics picked up at least twice a day.

“Because they are organics, there is concern about hygiene, bacteria, the smell as it sits outside,” Beaver said. “Where do they expect us to store all this waste?”

Rob Orpin, director of collection operations at Toronto Solid Waste, said alternatives exist for businesses who want more collection. Under the new pick up schedule, businesses can sign up for a premium organic collection five days a week that will cost businesses $1,200 a year respectively.

“Surely $5 a night for unlimited garbage pick-up is not unreasonable,” Orpin said. “And businesses can always call us and we can discuss alternatives.”

Vaughan said he hopes to sit down with the BIA and Solid Waste to discuss other financial solutions, although he did not elaborate on specifics.